March 6, 2008

 Navigation

   Home Page

 News & Features

   News

 Columns & Opinions

   Publisher's Note

   Boomers

   Pinings

   Longshots

   Techie

 Pop Culture

   Film

   TV

   Books
   Video Games
   CD Reviews

 Living

   Food

   Wine

   Beer

 Music

   Articles

   Music Roundup

   Live Music/DJs

   MP3 & Podcasts

   Bandmates

 Arts

   Theater

   Art

 Find A Hippo

   Manchester

   Nashua

 Classifieds

   View Classified Ads

   Place a Classified Ad

 Advertising

   Advertising

   Rates

 Contact Us

   Hippo Staff

   How to Reach The Hippo

 Past Issues

   Browse by Cover


Presidents of the United States of America, These are the Good Times People
Fugitive/EMI Records, March 11
“Lump,” from the first PotUSA album, defined this band as the punk rock version of a children’s book. If you were a pre-teen in 1995 and had druggie parents who were fans of bands like Alice n Chains, chances are good that you were force-fed the Presidents’ debut as a sort of rock n roll potty training, as if that’s a necessary step in child development. Thus we have a little reversion therapy for the younger readers here, as the band is sticking to their “Lump” guns into the post-9/11 era.

This stuff fit the Clinton era better, of course: parents had enough money to provide for their kids, and cuteness could be trusted. Cut to now, when all the 4-chord tongue-in-cheek self-deprecation of TATGTP — laced with a token dirty word or two (“Mixed Up SOB”) — just isn’t innocuous-but-cool the way Reel Big Fish is, but instead red-dye sugar-sweetened Pop Tart commercials made for the overheads at Toys R Us (this despite non-kid themes about cultural fears [“French Girl”] and how it’d be nice to have a permanent fixer-upper of a lover to keep rescuing from one disaster to another [“More Bad Things”]). Don’t get me wrong; the songs are catchy and geeky-funny-ha-ha when it wants to be. But joke-band-land is overcrowded these days — with Reel Big Fish, a zillion emo hambones and whatever’s left of Weird Al — and little space remains for bands whose members aren’t interested enough in their own jokes to keep their respective franchises going year after year. BEric W. Saeger